italicissima is dedicated to real Italian language as it appears in contemporary literature. Here you’ll find a quarterly post on a novel of literary and linguistic interest and, whenever possible, a language-themed interview with the author. What you won’t find are books written exclusively in standard Italian (i.e., the language of textbooks and classical literature), especially the ones they teach you in school.
Piacere Sicilia (Sicily Pleasure) is, according to its tagline, La prima rivista made in Sicily di turismo, tradizione e gastronomia (The first magazine Made in Sicily about tourism, traditions, food and wine). And what a pleasure it is!
Flipping through the pages of this magazine is truly a feast for the soul and for the eyes, as the gorgeous cover illustration indicates. If you haven’t been to Sicily, Piacere Sicilia will make you long to go. And if you have been there, as I have, you’ll be desperate to return. I almost cried when I saw a picture of cannoli.
The content of Piacere Sicilia is well researched and written and consists of short articles about everything from historical towns and key sites to food, drink, and lodging. But what is particularly impressive about the magazine is the care that the editorial staff takes to introduce elements of both the Sicilian language (often erroneously referred to as a “dialect” of Italian) and the regional Italian of Sicily (the proper name for Italianized Sicilian, i.e., Sicilian terms that are Italian in terms of morphology). Below are some of the words and phrases from the Trapani issue of Piacere Sicilia.
Castellammare del Golfo (Sic. Casteddammari; Eng. a town whose name means Sea Castle on the Gulf)
Lilibeum (Ital. Lilibeo, which means Ital. la città che guarda la Lybia; Eng. the town overlooking Lybia (Note: Lilibeum was an ancient Punic city, the ruins of which lie beneath the contemporary city of Marsala)
dammusu (Reg. Ital. dammuso, Ital. tetto; Eng. roof)
kammarinu (Ital. camera da letto per un bambino; Eng. child’s bedroom)
busiate (derived from the Sic. busa; Ital. ferro da maglia; Eng. knitting needle)
raù di runcu cu l’agghia e muddrica (Ital. ragù di gronco con aglio e mollica; Eng. conger ragout with garlic and bread crumbs)
pasta cà sarsa (Ital. pasta con la salsa di pomodoro; Eng. pasta with tomato sauce)
pisci sicchi (Ital. pesci secchi; Eng. dried fish)
u megghiu manciari (Ital. il meglio da mangiare; Eng. the best of food)
vivu vivu (Ital. vivo vivo; Eng. live live, a saying in Trapani to indicate the freshness of fish)
è ‘cchiu vecchiu da culummara (Ital. è più vecchio del Colombaia; Eng. it’s older than the Colombaia, a castle in Trapani, parts of which date back to 480 BC)
la Maronna di l’agnuni (Ital. la Madonna dell’angolo; Eng. The Madonna in the Corner; also called Ital. la Madonna nera con bambino; Eng. The Black Madonna and Child)
abbanniare (Ital. pubblicizzare; Eng. to advertise, in this case, to scream about one’s wares on the street)
Thanks to the terrific translations of British expatriate Vanessa Di Stefano, this magazine is available in Italian and English in print, online at www.piaceresicilia.it, and, if you download the free app from the App Store, on your iPhone, Android, or iPad (for free). And be sure to mipiacciare (like) their Facebook page.